Acclaimed author remembered for his award-winning books dealing with the African-American experience, such as Bricktop and the four-book Count Your Way series. He was a multiple-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner for books like The Story of Stevie Wonder.
He worked as a Wall Street stock trader before becoming a teacher in Harlem.
His picture book The Cotton Club inspired the Oscar-nominated 1984 movie of the same name.
He was survived by his wife Kathy, two daughters and a son.
Many of his books deal with the lives of real-life figures in African-American history, including Rosa Parks.